​We won’t escape another #EndSARS protest, Lawan warns

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, warned on Monday that Nigeria as a country, will not escape another citizens’ restiveness in the mode of #EndSARS protest if it failed to effectively address the issue of youth unemployment and make practical steps in its national budget to meaningfully engage the youths.
Speaking when he formally declared open the 2021 budget defence for the Ministry of Agriculture before the Senator Abdullahi Adamu, All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasarawa West led Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Lawan said that some youths genuinely expressed their anger in recent #EndSARS protest and successfully gained government’s attention.

Recounting the events of #EndSARS, the President of the Senate warned that a good number of them who may not have had the opportunity to vent their anger are in the rural areas; pointing out that there was the urgent need to meet them in their needs.

Lawan who advised that there was need to be more practical with budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Agriculture to create jobs for many of the youths, said, “Let’s meet them where they are and many of them are in the rural areas. Let’s give them what we can and keep them in the rural areas and make their lives productive”.

“On our part, we are going to be accountable. We escaped this on (#EndSARS Protest); the other one is inescapable.”

​We can’t conduct National Convention now — APC

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is again enmeshed in crisis as the the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, of the party insisted yesterday that it was not in a hurry to convoke a national convention because the condition precedent to having such an exercise had to be put in place first.
The committee said it was instead focused on achieving and sustaining true and lasting unity, peace and reconciliation across party ranks, ahead of the planned national convention of the party.

APC in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, was responding to reports accusing the caretaker committee of surreptitiously seeking an extension of its six-month mandate.

The CECPC was constituted and inaugurated by the 8th resumed meeting of the APC National Executive Committee, NEC, in June, with a core mandate to achieve peace-building, true reconciliation and give a sense of belonging to every member of the party.

Nabena said while a section of the media had been awash with reports of tenure extension for the CECPC, the focus remained achieving and sustaining the APC caretaker committees peace and reconciliation core mandate.

He said: “It is important that the APC conducts its planned national convention to produce the party’s national leadership as a united house.

‘’Otherwise the main aim of constituting the CECPC, following the dissolution of the immediate-past National Working Committee, NWC, will be defeated.’’

The statement said the Governor Buni-led CECPC has deployed a combination of true reconciliation, consultation and inclusiveness in achieving unity and cohesion in the party.

“To reposition the party to ensure good governance, Governor Buni proposed the recently-inaugurated tripartite Executive/Legislative/APC consultative committee which is ensuring synergy, good governance and accelerated implementation of the Next Level agenda.

“A peacemaker and stabilizing voice, Governor Buni is meeting all leaders, known party groups and interests in order to accommodate all interests. This has resulted in renewed commitment on the part of party members.

“Ahead of the planned APC National Convention and indeed the 2023 General Elections, stakeholders should continue to support the CECPC efforts to unite the party in order to make it formidable enough to consolidate on the APCs national governing status and landmark achievements.

‘’The APC must not go into a National Convention, and indeed a general election in crisis. We should take it one step at a time and ensure that the ongoing national reconciliation process being undertaken by the CECPC is sustained, successful and continue to yield results”, the party stated.

Nabena said it was not surprising that elected National Executive Committee (Non- National Working Committee) members at a recent meeting with the party’s national leadership, passed a vote of confidence on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC CECPC.

It stated: “This was sequel to an earlier passed confidence vote on the CECPC by 36 State APC Chairmen, including the Federal Capital Territory.

“To further carry along dedicated party members, the CECPC is already working with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to urgently address the reward system for dedicated and loyal party members, particularly on appointment of deserving party members into several boards, agencies and parastatals of government.

“It is commendable that the consultative party leadership style instituted by Governor Buni as chairman of APC-CECPC has brought back many prominent party members and leaders, including former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Barnabas Gemade; former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Dr. Alex Otti, among others.

“The planned nationwide registration, update, revalidation of the party’s membership register will undoubtedly cement APC’s political and numerical status as Nigeria’s largest political party.

“Also, the CECPC has resuscitated the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanisms and has set up reconciliation committees for Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ogun, Ekiti among other states chapters with reported disputes.

‘’The committees are already meeting with the key stakeholders in the various states and has achieved substantial reconciliation in many states. The success stories of the ongoing reconciliation efforts abound.

‘’A case in point is Cross River State where the CECPC reconciled the two factions and appointed a State Caretaker Committee, led by Sen. Matthew Mbu (Jnr.) as acting State Chairman.

‘’In Ondo State, all the governorship aspirants were brought together, campaigned and worked for the successful re-election of the APC candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.

“In Akwa Ibom State, the CECPC brought together all the contending interests under one roof and achieved true reconciliation. Today, in Akwa Ibom, leaders such as Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Obong Nsima Ekere, Mr. Umana O. Umana, Sen. Ita Enang, Barr. Bassey Dan Abia (Snr), among others, are working together and in collective pursuit of party interests.

“At the national level and on the auspices of the CECPC, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, have resolved in party interest to work together and strengthen the party, particularly in the South South geo-political zone,” he stated.

Nabena recalled that the Governor Buni-led APC CECPC met last Tuesday at the party’s National Secretariat and reviewed the implementation of the CECPC’s three-month action plan.

“It is important to take cognizance of the fact that the prior internal party crisis which was unfortunately left to fester before the advent of the CECPC distracted public attention from appreciating the monumental strides President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government is making in delivering on APC’s three critical electoral promises fighting corruption, security and revamping the economy from 16 years Peoples Democratic party, PDP, misrule and mismanagement,” APC added.

However, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who represented Zamfara Central in the Senate, has asked the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, to immediately convene a national convention or resign. Buni is also the governor of Yobe State.

According to him, the decision of the committee to conduct membership registration is clearly outside its mandate.

He contended that membership registration was not part of the mandate of the committee, saying it was diversionary and an attempt by Buni to perpetuate himself in office.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Senator Marafa likened the attitude of Governor Buni to that of his friend and former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who he said abandoned the governance of the state in favour of Nigerian Governors’ Forum orum because of greed.

Marafa said: “Your State, Yobe, is in deeper crisis than APC, the state needs you more than the party, emulate your senior brother and colleague in Borno. Your agenda will collapse in a similar way the ones before yours collapsed.”

Recall that Buni’s committee was inaugurated in June, 2020, saddled with the responsibility of administering the party’s affairs and organising a national convention within six months, following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee, NWC.

Many chieftains of the party have been mounting pressure on Buni to restrict the activities of his committee to the convocation of a national convention.

Marafa, who leads a faction of the APC in Zamfara State, told Buni further: “Don’t overstretch your luck, we are not afraid of you. Many of us are aware that your appointment is unconstitutional, [Section 17(iv) of our party’s constitution is very clear].

‘’We only kept quiet because of the respect we have for Mr. President, and the believe that the party needs to open a new page.

“Be informed that any action you take outside your primary mandate of organizing a convention that will usher in a new set of executives will be null, void and of no effect whatsoever. You have up to December to do the needful or we chase you out.

“Your state needs you more than the party, go and administer your state, you can’t be governor and chairman of APC at the same time, it’s unconstitutional. You equally can’t accuse Chief Oshiomhole of any wrong doing, because you were part of all the decisions he took. If there is any mess in APC today, you are part of it.

“We are eager to witness the emergence of a responsible leadership, a leadership we all can trust, a leadership that will carry every member, every section, every tribe along, not the type that leads by deceit and lies.

“You have failed woefully, your fake claim of succeeding in reconciling members of the party in nine states when in actual sense you only aggravated their problems by taking sides unjustly clearly shows the kind of leader you are.

‘’Looking at the composition of the committee, we all thought you will lead the party out of the mess you contributed in putting it in. However, events in recent time have shown that you are not concerned about fixing the party, you are only interested in the politics of 2023. It is unfortunate that things have become even more messier than before.”

​2023: Why Presidency should come to South East — Ohanaeze Ndigbo

President General of Ohanaeze-Ndigbo, John Nwodo, has said the next president should come from the South East in 2023 to promote national unity.
Nwodo, who made the call at a meeting with a Presidential delegation, led by Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, in Enugu yesterday, also urged the Federal Government to develop the South-East Development Commission and create room for at least two states in the South East.

The meeting was part of measures put in place by government to respond to the requests of youths made in the recent #EndSARS’ protests.

“To promote national unity, we urge that the next president of Nigeria should come from the South East of Nigeria,” he said.

At the meeting, governors, leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the South East appealed to the Federal Government to look into the demands of youths with the aim of solving them.

They urged President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the various demands of stakeholders of the region for its development, peace, and security.

“We, therefore, request the President to look into the demands of various groups and youths as presented today (yesterday), with a view to solving them.

“South-East people believe in one Nigeria and this is the reason we are in every part of this country building infrastructure and doing our businesses,” Chairman of South East Governors Forum, Dave Umahi said.

Speaking on the outcome of the meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the meeting as “extremely fruitful.”

“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,” Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, yesterday in Enugu.

He said it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.

“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,” the minister said.

Noting that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably, Mohammed said: “We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda. This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East.’’

According to him, when the team gets back to Abuja, it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.

The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

Apart from Mohammed and Gambari, other members of the delegation were the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammad Adamu; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are; Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Uchenna Ogah, Minister of State for Education, Dr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.